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Support from the German Research Foundation for Catalysis Research at Heidelberg University

Press Release No. 1/2009
29 05 2009
Third funding period for Collaborative Research Centre 623 – Funding to the tune of seven million euros
The Collaborative Research Centre 623 “Molecular Catalysts: Structure and Functional Design” (SFB 623) will be pursuing its successful work at Heidelberg University for another four years. After a positive assessment by an international panel of reviewers, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has approved funds to the tune of approximately 7 million euros for the purpose. SFB 623 was set up at the Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences in 2002. Its work centres on interdisciplinary basic research in the field of catalysis. The third funding period begins on 1 July 2009.

The aim of the work done by SFB 623 is to use the understanding of the structure and functions of molecules to develop new approaches to the rational design and realisation of novel catalysts that are economical in terms of energy and resources. The spectrum of research topics ranges from biocatalysis in living cells to the large-scale technical synthesis of basic chemicals. Involved in the Collaborative Research Centre are scientists and technicians from Heidelberg University’s Institutes of Chemistry and Institute of Pharmacy and Biotechnology, in conjunction with experts from the Max Planck Institute of Medical Research in Heidelberg and scientists working at Heidelberg’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Scientific Computing and the Institute of Biophysical Chemistry at Saarland University.

“For the chemists at Heidelberg University the unrestrictedly positive verdict by the DFG is an acknowledgment of the work they have been doing in molecular catalysis, one of the central concerns of our Faculty both in research and teaching,” said Prof. Dr. Peter Hofmann of the Institute of Organic Chemistry, the coordinator of SFB 623. “At the same time it underlines once again Heidelberg’s outstanding status among the most research-intensive university locations for chemistry in Germany. The prospect of funding for the period 2009 to 2013 will enable us to continue with innovative catalysis research under ideal conditions in terms of apparatus, institutional structure and staffing. This will also assure our competitive status at an international level. We will continue to be an attractive location for the best scientists, including those of upcoming generations.”

In addition, SFB 623 is a factor of major significance for CaRLa, the catalysis research laboratory run jointly with BASF since 2006 as part of the “Industry on Campus” venture that is an integral part of Heidelberg University’s strategy for excellence. “This opens up prospects for new synergies and novel forms of cooperation that play a very important role over and above the positive reception accorded to our SFB proposal,” said Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University.

The core funding for the Collaborative Research Centre is supplemented by resources from the University itself and from the Ministry of Science in Stuttgart. Accordingly, it will have a total of approx. eight million euros at its disposal in the period up to 2013. On top of this it receives sponsoring from BASF, including monies required for the jointly organised Heidelberg Forum of Catalysis conference that takes place every two years. The next conference is scheduled for 6 November 2009.

Heidelberg University coordinates seven Collaborative Research Centres (SFBs) and one Transregional Collaborative Research Project (TR), including the SFB/TR “Vascular Differentiation and Remodeling”, at present receiving support from the German Research Foundation in its second funding period. The University also participates in eight other SFBs and one other Transregional Research Project.

Please address any inquiries to
Prof. Dr. Peter Hofmann

Heidelberg University
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Dr. Michael Schwarz
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Irene Thewalt
phone: +49 6221 542311
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